Updated: May 5, 2021
I take a deep breath and I close my eyes. And I wait a few moments.
And then I hear a voice: “What is the future of community? If it were 2030, what does community look and feel like?”
And then I imagine myself walking through just one door- not just the door to my home, not just the door to my work, not just the door to my social club, but another door altogether. And I open that door and I step through.
I wait a few moments...
I wait for an image- a color, an object, an outline- to become clear in the dark space behind my eyelids. What is behind this door?
And then an image arrives and then another. And then I watch as the movie plays…
It’s the year 2030 and I’m sitting on my seat in a self-driving transparent shuttle that flies me over the city. It’s not San Francisco, it’s not New York, it’s just a beautiful city. I look down, but not too far down because we’re not that high up, and there are trees and streams and flowers and gardens and huts. Not small, modest huts. More like beautiful modern lodges with clay rooftops and glass doors and sliding and convertible spaces so that what was once inside can be outside and what was once outside can be inside. These lodges are sprinkled everywhere, not in an obviously organized fashion but more into the crevices between the trees and the streams where it seems to make the most sense. They all look the same. Beautiful, stunning, but the same.
People live in these lodges. Families live in these lodges. Wait no, groups live in these lodges. Sometimes these groups are blood-related, sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are young children in these lodges and sometimes there are old people in these lodges and sometimes there are mixed groups and sometimes there are homogenous groups. But the people- they all look different from one another. They have different skin tones, and body sizes, and hairstyles, and clothing, and jewelry. And they are all beautiful. The lodges all look the same but these people, they all look different.
I see a group of 4 young children running together toward another lodge that looks like the other lodges, but just bigger, with more sliding doors and convertible spaces and more people coming in and out of them. It seems to be a mix of a school, a university, a theater, a creative space, a food market- a community hub if you will.
These four children all come from different families, but they were assigned to one another as a “Collective” at birth. They study together, they play together, they eat with one another’s families, they experience joy and pain with one another, and they grow up together. From childhood to adolescence to early adulthood to late adulthood through to death.
And often they go off and do their own things as people do- like taking their self-driving shuttles to visit other cities or other lands or other planets, or starting their own families, or finding new lodges to build and new businesses to run. But when they do, they still meet, once a week via a teleportation service that brings them into the same physical space to talk and laugh and cry and share. And no matter what is the same or what is different among them, they always find one another. Collectively, they are the space where they each belong.
This community I observe from the seat on my self-driving shuttle- it’s futuristic, but it’s not too far off. It feels within reach. It feels like one great community made up of many micro-communities. It feels not bound by time or geography or space, but bound by human connection and belonging. It’s big, it’s small, it’s open, it’s closed, it’s like a circle.
And then I open my eyes...